Today is of historical interest, as it marks the anniversary of the first meeting of the United States Supreme Court on Feb. 1, 1790. The Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the land, consisting of nine justices and taking judicial precedence over all other courts in the nation.
On Feb. 2, 1892, the crown cork bottle cap was patented by William Painter. These are the kinds of tops where bottle openers are used. Aren’t we glad this was invented?
Each year we welcome in Groundhog Day, which is Feb. 2. The official groundhog lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and his name is Punxsutawney Phil. According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow (the day is bright and sunny) there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow (the day is overcast), there will be an early spring.
On Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob in front of thousands of followers from all over the world.
One thing children love to do is to be amateur meteorologists. This coming Monday, Feb. 5, is National Weatherman’s Day. Have your children as young as three to look outside and to predict what they think the weather will be like that day. This can make for an early morning conversation about what kind of clothes they need to wear over the next few weeks according to if the groundhog saw or did not see his shadow.
In walking around early in the morning or driving your children to school, children love to look out the window and study the different shapes of clouds. Cirrus clouds look feathery, stratus clouds are black and gray, cumulus clouds look like cotton candy. Too, discuss the different kinds of precipitation they might see each day such as rain, sleet, snow, and hail.
Too you can point out to your young child that in winter weather we put on coats and sweaters to stay warm, but groundhogs hibernate, or sleep, during the entire winter season.
As we teachers and parents reflect upon the month of February we think of happiness in the heart of a young child. Children are so happy when they are engaged in helping others. These can be simple acts of kindness in helping friends and family. I love to look at preschoolers help each other tie or put on their shoes when needed or help them pick up crayons or toys.
It is wondrous what a hug can do. I love after reading to preschoolers each week, that I am met with hugs as a way for these children to say thank you for reading to them. Parenting is truly a rewarding but demanding season in raising children! We as parents have to multi-task daily in running errands, preparing meals, bathing and dressing our children, taking them to preschool and other activities, making sure they rest, as well as getting ourselves to work. Taking time to create “Hug Moments” provide so many benefits for your child. When your child awakens after a nap or long night’s sleep, a hug can provide such love and security. It gives them confidence that they are accepted.
Children are little observers of everything! Point out daily happenings all around that a child or children can be grateful for. Have children to share what they are grateful for! They can verbalize what they are thankful for as well as draw or make play-doh objects of what they are thankful for. I loved this past week when it was raining outside, we teachers and preschoolers at Community Bible Study Childrens’ Ministry gathered around to look out the window and name the cars, buses, grass, trees, buses, and different buildings we saw in downtown Opelika. Being a grateful observer puts them in a happy mood!
Don’t we all love to hear an honest laugh from a child! A child’s laugh is contagious for everyone around. Laughter promotes a positive and happy outlook for a child. Laughter releases physical tension and stress and helps them relate better with other children. Reading a wholesome funny book or looking at a funny video are good sources of laughter.
During the winter, when the weather permits, and inside when it is too cold to go outside, taking time to play with your children promotes physical, mental, and emotional happiness in exercise and fun. The time you spend running, walking, skipping, throwing a ball back and forth, blowing bubbles spells LOVE for your child.
Giving children praise for who they are as well as when they have tried hard in helping others provides them happiness and joy! It truly builds good self-esteem. Children hang on to each compliment! I love in the early childhood classroom of letting children that you have caught them being good! Don’t we all love to roll out play-doh with children! It sort of takes us back to our childhood days. Just like play-doh, children are moldable and bendable by the words we say to them. Children need clear lines of rules and boundaries,¬¬ but yet they need words of encouragement in order to learn, grow, and just believe and know how special they are. It is so heart warming to see a smile or a twinkle in a young child’s eyes when they are praised or encouraged for just who they are and what they do! We need to praise those crayon master pieces even if glue is dropping heavily off the page, praise your little ones for their efforts. Parents, Grandparents, and we teachers, words and time spent with your young child are essential building blocks in their adjustment, well-being, and good self-esteem, so they can then also reach out to others.
In February we have so much to look forward to in activities that celebrate the lives of children.

Beth Pinyerd has taught many years in the early childhood classroom. She has a master’s in early childhood education.